Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Words to Live By

Yesterday, the world changed for many people. A wonderful, sweet and loving man was suddenly taken from us. Every time someone who is seemingly healthy, dies suddenly, it always brings our own mortality to the forefront, at least it does for me anyway. Think about it, every day, we go about the busy-ness of living: going to work, taking children to school, paying bills, doing the laundry, making plans assuming everything will carry on the same as it always has.

When I lost my dad 16 years ago, my world stopped. I found it difficult to believe that life went on, people went about their business: going to lunch, buying stamps, getting their oil changed. How? How could those people not see how awful things had become? the truth is, we all live in our little bubbles, oblivious to what may or may not be happening in the lives of others. My grandmother had things that she considered ‘too nice’ to use on a daily basis, clothing, jewelry, dishes. She was saving them for a ‘special occasion’. The thing about that is, every day is special. I found myself thinking the same thing about a pair of nice earrings once. They’re diamond studs, an anniversary gift. I thought these are too nice for this outfit. But then my thinking changed. Diamonds go with everything, but the reality is every day is a gift, special in its own way.

My point here is this, life is short and fragile. We never know from one minute to the next what can happen. How many times have you been delayed at work for some irritating reason when you’re trying to get somewhere, only to find out there has been a massive pile up on the freeway that happened at the exact time you would have been there?

Take the time to enjoy the journey that is life.

Try new foods.

Wear the clothes that are ‘too nice’ for every day (maybe not the ballgown to work, but…)

Go to the places you’ve always wanted to visit.

Say hello to that guy/gal you’ve wanted to talk to.

Take chances, don’t live with regret.

Be present in your life.

Forgive those who hurt you.

Tell the people you care about how you feel every opportunity you get.

Live fearlessly.

Love without limitations.

Drink lots of water and eat foods that don’t come from a box or can.

Exercise and take care of the vessel that is your body.

Read and challenge your brain.

Put your feet in the ocean at least once.

Accept responsibility for mistakes you’ve made, learn from them and move on. Mistakes do not define who you are.

Learn how to cook at least one dish really well.

Grow something.

Take 5 minutes everyday to just be. Be still, listen to the sounds of the earth and your heart.

Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Watch a bee collect pollen. Watch a squirrel bury its nuts.

Wear lipstick.

Dance in the rain.

Smile at a stranger.

Make donations to charitable organizations that mean something to you.

Laugh, often.

Be grateful.

Spend time outdoors.

Focus on what it is and not on what it is not.

And for Pete’s sake, take as good care of yourself as you do the people and things you have in your life. If you don’t have your health, nothing else matters.

This message brought to you by the ‘appreciate life’ committee (aka me!) And please let me know what additions you’d make to this list!

 

 

 

 

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Delish summer salad

Hey y’all! It’s summer and I’m back! We had more spring rains in May than in the history of ever. We were out of school for an entire week before we ever saw the sun. It didn’t feel like summer at all. The temps were in the 60’s and 70’s, cloudy and rainy. Bleh. In May, we only had 2 days that were considered ‘sunny’ That’s not summer, that’s monsoon season. This week when the sun finally came out, I promise I heard angels singing! And since the sun finally came out and my yard has become less than a swamp, I’ve been able to do some of the yard work and gardening that has been put off. It’s no fun doing yard work in hip waders. So here I am, putting my basil and my mind is running all over the place. Apparently my mind just ran the 40 yard dash in record time, because this is what it came up with.

image

This is pure summer deliciousness in a bowl.

Delish Summer Salad

4 Roma tomatoes – quartered and sliced
2 avocados – cubed
2 cloves garlic – minced
5-6 leaves fresh basil – sliced
4-6 oz fresh mozzarella – sliced/cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and dive in! This is an incredibly flavorful, fresh, light salad that I think I could live on. It has everything you could ever possibly want, right? It’s got the goodness of the unsaturated fats of avocados, the vitamins of the tomatoes, the protein of the mozzarella, the health benefits of the garlic and basil. What more could a girl ask for? More. I could ask for more. Come to think of it, I think I will.

**Note – If you’re not too keen on the *POW* of fresh garlic, you can use one clove instead of two. We love the POW, but you can easily tone it down.

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I Won’t Lie…..

Wow. Happy New Year! The new year is always a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I’m happy b/c it’s a shiny new year, full of promise. Goals to reach. Milestones. Adventures. And on the other hand, I really love the festivities of Christmas and packing it all away, makes my home seem dull.

My last post I shared with you my new challenge. I gave up grains/sugar/alcohol. I won’t lie. It was difficult at first. This gal loves her pretzels/popcorn/crackers/bread. Within a couple of weeks I really noticed some changes. My clothes fit better. I slept straight through the night, none of the random waking up for no reason, unable to get back to sleep. My cranky knee and tummy troubles were gone. Unbelievable! It seemed I dropped upwards of 10lbs simply by making those changes.

Then Christmas happened. I thought, what could happen if I have just a little? Have you ever tried to eat just one chip? Just one cracker? Yeah, it so does not work. My one cheat one day lead to cheats every day. While I have not packed on all of the lbs, I have noticed a return to many of the issues I had previously. The cranky knee, cranky. Tummy troubles, boo. Random 3AM waking, yep, that too.

And while it is not easy, I am determined to get back to that state of well being. Sometimes, we have to realize that health is not simply the absence of disease, but all body systems functioning at maximum capacity and if those systems are battling within themselves, they cannot operate as they were designed to do. While I did not completely go overboard on my cheats, a few here and there have made their differences known. I will make alterations to my menu, and feel better for it.

If you are considering making changes to your life to better your health, don’t hold back, and don’t give up. If you fall off the wagon, get right back on.

http://www.wheatbelly.com

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29 Things New High School Grads Need to Survive

I work in a high school. I don’t remember ever being as young as the kids are in my school, but clearly, I was at some point. I mean, it’s not like I could skip an age, right? No matter how badly my daughter might wish it. No matter how badly I wished it once upon  a time. It’s pretty comical now. I used to ask my mom why she waited so late to have me, why couldn’t I have been born when she was younger, that way I’d be older already. I know, I know. Now I see the fallacy in my thinking. Never, and i mean N.E.V.E.R. try to grow up too fast. Life will pass you by in the blink of an eye and before you know what’s happened, someone with gray hair and wrinkles will be looking back at you from the mirror and saying, ‘What the hell happened?”

So, in celebration of my 29th high school graduation, I wanted to share 29 things I learned with the newly minted high school graduates.

1. Do what you say you’ll do. Don’t commit to something and then back out or change your mind. You’ll look like a flake and no one will belive you next time around if you make a habit of it.

2. Accept responsibility for what you do. You can’t blame someone else for what happens to you.

3. You can only control yourself, and nothing and no one else. Try not to waste too much time and energy being upset over things that are out of your control.

4. Hug your mom and dad while you can. They’re the only ones you’ll ever get and they won’t be here forever.

5. Don’t gossip. It is a form of character assassination, for the gossiper, not the subject of gossip. If it isn’t your news, don’t share it. You’ll make many more friends this way.

6. People will hurt you. Don’t let that change who you are, but don’t be a doormat either.

7. Don’t be afraid of change. Without change, we can’t grow and find out who we’re meant to be.

8. Don’t tie yourself to people that make you unhappy or are negative. Life is too short and there will be plenty of your own struggles and drama, you dont’ want someone else’s.

9. Never, ever settle for less than what you want, especially when it comes to your love life.

10. The best things in life take work, alot of hard work, to achieve. Do the work, you’ll appreciate the result much more.

11. Don’t post things on Twitter or Instagram that you don’t want your parents, a college admissions counselor or future employer to see, because they will. 

12. If it’s online, it’s forever, even if you delete it.

13. Don’t ignore those little red flags that you feel in your gut, they will never steer you wrong.

14. As cliché as this sounds, everything happens for a reason. Just know it’s the way it’s supposed to be, go with it.

15. Karma has a long memory and she’s a bitch. Let go of the anger know that the universe will make the corrections and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the show. It may take a while, but it’ll happen.

16. Your boss is paying you to work, not clock in & hangout. The more initiative you show at work, finding things to do when it’s slow, the better your odds of keeping your job for a longer period of time.

17. Work in retail or restaurants at least once. Just trust me on this one.

18. Say ‘Thank you’ and mean it.

19. Don’t be afraid to disagree with people, but don’t be mean and rude when you have discussions. Conversations with people who have different views or are from a different background can be quite enlightening.

20. Don’t judge a book by its cover. What someone looks like, may not be the whole story, get to know someone before deciding if  you like them or not.

21. Go to the dentist. Brush and floss your teeth every day. Unless of course you want to have dentures, and if that’s the case, don’t worry about the first part.

22. Always be true to who you are and don’t let someone else change you to suit their needs or desires. If you meet someone who makes you want to be a better person, that is a different story altogether.

23. Try new things, food or music or whatever. You never know, you might find a new favorite that you’ve been missing.

24. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

25. Be courteous on the roads and let people in. And always use your turn signals and seatbelt. They literally could save your life.

26. Nothing good happens after midnight. Ever.

27. Take care of yourself. You can pay now and play later. Or play now and pay later. If you want to be the cool granny/pops w/the kids at Disney, you can’t sit around now playing video games and eating cheetos all day. Eat well, exercise often.

28. If you’re going to do something, go all in. Don’t do it halfway.

29. Smile. Alot. 

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T.G.I.F.B.I.O.O.M.M.

Did you catch that? My title? I’m pretty sure you got the first part of it. Would you like me to share the rest? I’d love to. But first, you have to hear the story, well, stories, behind the title.

So, sit back, grab your popcorn, and get ready to spray beer/soda/coffee through your nose. Well, maybe not that funny, but pretty damn comical. You’ll see. A little background. I work at a local private high school answering phones, taking attendance. Fun stuff.

All of these things happened on Fridays. The names have been omitted to protect the innocent, or terminally dense people involved.

I answer the phone ‘Good morning. Can I help you?’
“Wure playing football thayre tomorra mornin. Y’all got a football field?’
Stunned, picking jaw up from the floor. ‘Yes sir, we do. It’s on the north side of the campus on 36th.”
‘Oh. Ah didn’t know y’all had a field. Y’all got bleachers and everthang?’
‘Uh, yes sir. We have bleachers. We even have a snack bar.’
‘Oh, alrahty the-in. Thanky.’
We didn’t always have a field. We used to play on other local high school fields. But that was in the late 80’s. And by the way, why would we rent out a field we didn’t even have? SMH

Same Friday. Only a bit later in the day.
It’s game day. We’re facing our biggest rival at home, our first home game of the season. Everyone is jazzed about it. It’s huge in our season. We have a pep rally. Remember those? Yep, they still happen. I mean, come on, it’s high school. It’s a requirement! My building is outside the fence of our school (long story) there are gates for pedestrians as well as vehicle traffic. The gates are closed during the day, but the pedestrian gates close, they don’t lock b/c students have to pass thru them to get to my building.

It’s time for pep rally. The cheer squad, pep squad, band and everyone who needs to be there early has already left the building. Save one. She’s beautiful. Very statuesque and just stunning. She’s stayed behind to change into her cheer uniform. She’s the last one and she’s marching with purpose to get to the gym before the flood of kids come out of their rooms. She walks out of the building, only to come right back with a bewildered look on her face.

“Did you forget something?’
looking at me wild-eyed and very concerned.
“The gates are closed!”
“Of course they are, they’re always closed during the day.”
“But how am I going to get through??”
Stopped me in my tracks. She was dead freaking serious.
“Do you see the cross walk? If you follow it, there is a gate that you can pass through.”
“Oh, ok. Thank you!” She says to me as if I’ve just given her the answers to her chemistry final.
Seriously, the ant trail was not there, she was used to following the herd of kids coming through the gate. She’s a very sweet girl, and I’m positive she’ll never have difficulty passing through the gate again!

The following Friday, we had a driving incident involving pedestrians and burritos. There were no major injuries, but I know two young men who will be the safest drivers around. All of which occurred after I’d arrived at work early. EARLY on a Friday. Only to spill coffee on myself, not a little, a WHOLE MUG, getting out of my car. Helluva way to start a Friday. I’d gone home to change clothes and one of my coworkers had come to cover my desk til I could get back. When I returned, there were police cars, an ambulance and fire truck. Can you imagine, she said she’d never cover for me again!

Last Friday, as I was locking up the building. It was well after dismissal, teachers and students were all long gone. A car pulls up and a young man pops out, sees me locking up and runs over to me.
“Can I get in?”
“What do you need? Everyone is gone.”
“I just need to get this to Mr. A.”
“He’s gone.”
“Oh. Ok, I’ll just leave him a note.”
“He’s GONE.”
“He’s gone?” bewildered look, as if he’s just noticed me standing there speaking to him.
“Yes, he’s gone. You can email him if you need to.”
“Oh, well, it’s nothing pressing.”

So….Friday. Yeah. I love ya, but man, could you cut me a break this time around?

Oh, right, the title. Are you ready? Here goes.
Thank God It’s Friday Because I’m Out Of My Mind

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It’s a God Thing

Not to get all religious on you or anything, but you know, some times things happen in your life to make you understand there’s a higher power at work that you may not realize. I’m not in your face about my faith, it’s very personal to me. If you ask me questions, I’ll be happy to share my beliefs with you, but I’m not going to push anything on anyone. I just don’t go for that. I’m of the school of thought that there are three general things in life that I don’t discuss: politics, finances and religion. It seems to avoid a lot of disagreements and overall bad feelings.

I’d been working as a sales manager part-time since last fall. It was a fun job, I liked the people I worked with, but there wasn’t a ton of money to be made. But let me back up for just a tic.

I was a newly licensed health care professional when my first child was born. I went back to work. It’s what you do, right? Then a few years later, my next child came along. We were all thrilled with the addition to our family. However, when the baby got a little older, I realized I needed to be with my children. I mean, who better to take care of my precious babies than me, right? No $7/hr day care worker would or could give them the time & attention they need. So I closed my business and became a stay at home parent. I didn’t want to get to the end of my life and have regret over something I could have done, but didn’t. In case you haven’t guessed by now, it was the second best decision I ever made. The first, marrying my husband.

Yes, it is difficult. I will not sugar coat it. It was a decision made with much love and consideration. And one that I continued because of my sense of duty to my children. Please don’t misunderstand my words. That decision is personal and what I did wouldn’t work for everyone. My best friend never understood how I was able to be at home all day with my kids. Many parents would love to be able financially to be stay at home parents. And I think there are equally as many thinking “No way could I do that. I’d go nuts!” Again, something very personal.

Fast forward to today. I have been praying for a long time for God to lead me in the direction I should go. Where I needed to be. I was unsure about going back into healthcare because of the amount of time & expense required to get relicensed and established. My children still need assistance with homework. And if I’m being honest, refereeing at times. Soon enough they’ll be in college and won’t need any assistance, but while they do still need me, if possible, I want to be here for them.

Last year, one of my cousins went through an ugly divorce. She is a school teacher and grew up here in my hometown. I hadn’t asked her (I didn’t want to be one of those nosy family members) but I thought maybe she might be considering a move back here, closer to her mother & sister (she’s currently several hours away). I went on the website for one of our local private high schools to see if there happened to be a teaching position open that she would be qualified for. We have several private high schools here, but this is the one we’ve been planning to send our children to all along.

In fact, I’ve looked at their websites many times, in search of a position that I would be qualified for, since I’m not a certified teacher. Certifiable, maybe, but not a teacher.

This particular time, when I went on their site, I found a receptionist position. It was like I heard angels singing. Truly! I was floored to find it and just elated at the possibility of not only working where my children will one day go to school, but also at the opportunity to earn more money for our family.

I sent in my resume, and waited. I followed up. No dice. They’re offering it to someone else. Well, ok. I was disappointed, to be sure. But I also tried to remember that if this was the case, then it simply was not meant to be.

But then….I got a voice mail. From the principal, asking me if I was still interested and would I be available for an interview. I was so excited, I could hardly breathe and I was running in circles in my house! literally! I called my husband and thought I might pee everywhere like one of the little yippy dogs that tinkle when they get wound up!

I went in for the interview & felt good about it, but as the days ticked by, I resigned myself that once again, it just was not meant to be.

I am one who really tries to see those kinds of signs and accept them for what they are. If a house I was interested in, sold before I was ready to buy, I might be disappointed, but I would also realize it wasn’t meant to be and I would find the right house when the time came.

When I received the phone call with the job offer, I was beyond ecstatic. It was the answer to so many prayers. Not only to be in the same place my children will be, but to have the same days off they do, to be off early enough in the day to be at home & available to assist with homework. And to be in a place, an institution that believes in not only educating the children, but to help them become the best people they can be, and focusing on them as individuals, not simply test scores.

I have felt so much love and joy since I have been there. Before the beginning of school, we had orientation for the new school year, each grade had their own specific time. I would be lying if I didn’t say seeing them gave me warm fuzzies. The boys were hugging each other. Seeing their friends after a summer apart, just to see their genuine affection and camaraderie was just wonderful. When I say hugging, I don’t mean the one arm guy hug, but real hugs, like you’d give a long lost friend or family member that you were truly happy to see.

I know without a doubt this is where I’m supposed to be. I was led here for a reason. Is it anything beyond my family and children? Who knows. But right now I know I have found where I belong. Yes, the early mornings are kicking my butt. Yes, there’s a lot to learn for me still, to the point sometimes I feel like a total moron, but I’m still learning & there is quite a lot to it.

I suppose the point of this post is to not give up on your dreams. And even when you aren’t sure anyone is listening, keep repeating it. And be open to the thought that what you thought you wanted may not really be the right thing for you.

“Lord, guide me where I need to be. Show me the way.”

This was the simple prayer I said every night as I went to bed.

**NOTE: I started writing this post in August. I’ve now been at my position for two months and I am settling in and learning the ropes and routines. I am thrilled to be working there and part of an instution of that caliber. To be part of the real love and caring for the students and families as a whole, not simply test scores. In the faculty lounge a few weeks ago, we had this very conversation, while this post was on the back burner.

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The Life of a Retail Manager

In case I haven’t shared that part of my life with you yet, my husband is a retail manager. Has been since he walked across the stage in the funny hat way back in the day. I won’t totally out him on his age, but it’s over 20 years. In his early years, he worked for a company that liked to move him. A lot. He lived in 11 cities in 10 years. Seriously. A crazy amount of moving around. Is it any wonder that he can’t recall anyone from those times? When you’re in a city for scarcely 4 to 6 months, give or take, making friends is tough.

Yes, we met in retail. We were both working at a store, long story, another post. If you’re lucky enough to never have worked retail, it’s a difficult and thankless field to be in. The customers are cranky. Management is cranky because your payroll is through the roof or sales figures are in the toilet. It’s not for the faint of heart for sure. There are moments of happiness, when someone expresses their gratitude when you help them in some way. But mostly, it’s people just looking for someone to bitch at when they can’t bitch at their spouse. It’s difficult to be someone’s whipping post when what they’re dealing with truly has nothing to do with you. Or maybe even the store you’re at.

One day last week, my husband was on his way out the door when a customer stopped him. His name tag reads ‘Store Manager’, so it’s not much of a stretch when someone asks. Here’s how it went down (pretty much)

Man: ‘Are you the store manager?’ in a growly and very unhappy tone.

hubs: ‘Yessir. I am. What can I help you with?’

Man: ‘I have shopped at this store for years and never, NEVER have I been treated the way I was treated today. I am extremely unhappy.’

hubs: ‘What is it you need? I’ll be happy to help you.’

Man: ‘I was in the shoe department and I asked one of your employees for help. AND THEY JUST WALKED AWAY!’

Hubs doing a mental headshake at the possibility. preparing for the ugliness that will surely follow. ‘Alright, let’s go see if we can find what it is you’re looking for.’

They head to the shoe department, hubs mind is going 90mph all the while. They arrive in the shoe section, the man gives my husband the name of the product he’s looking for. They walk to where the shoes should be.

Man: ‘There are your people right there!’ the man points to a cluster of people at the end of the aisle who are standing around chatting.

Hubs-mental head shaking again, almost becomes a spasm at this point. Keeping a straight face carries a high degree of difficulty right now.
‘Uh, sir? Those are customers.’
The shirts this group of people is wearing is the same color as the store employees uniform! He’d mistaken customers for employees and got mad as hell when one of them wouldn’t help him! Hubs helped the man find what he was looking for and they went back to the front of the store.

When they arrive he begins again on my husband.

Hubs: ‘Is there anything else I can do for you?’

Man: ‘My wife was having trouble getting help too.’

Wife: ‘EVERY TIME WE GO OUT YOU START AGAIN WITH THIS! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE DOING IT HERE!’ and she proceeded to dress him down at the front of the store.

I’m sitting here w/a grin on my face shaking my head all over again. And all I can say is, some people. So the next time you think your job is tough, be glad you’re not in retail. It really is a dog eat dog field.

 

 

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A Few Simple Rules

Yes, I am still alive and causing trouble! I’m sure I’ve got a new recipe to share, but today, I’m going to share some advice, free of charge! Yes, I know, unsolicited advice is always worth what you pay for it. But I had an experience a few weeks ago that inspired this post. that and a few other thoughts that some people (mainly of the male persuasion) may not really know and/or understand when it comes to dealing with those of us who belong to the fairer sex.

I almost want to quote Elle Whatshername from ‘Legally Blonde’. Remember the courtroom scene when shes’ questioning the daughter who has the terrible perm? ‘The rules of hair care are simple and finite.’ But with maybe one little revision. ‘The rules of speaking to women are simple and finite.’

Are you ready? Take notes if you like, or book mark this page for future reference.

Oh, wait, I almost forgot, the inspiration for my post. So I was shopping, and at the checkout, I looked down to get my card out, and the young man behind the register said ‘Are you a senior?’ I must have given him the ‘you go to hell! You go to hell and you die!’ look because he quickly backtracked, muttering under his breath, ‘nevermind, you don’t look like one.’ Um, look. I know it was time to get my hair done and there were more grays in there than I normally like to have, but I still have more pepper than salt. So, I’m not the sweet young thing I used to be, but I’m not in the nursing home just yet! I’m years, YEARS I say, from receiving my AARP card in the mail. You know, that is just one of the things you don’t say to a woman.

Now that you’ve heard the kind of day I was having, here are the rules:

1. Never ask a woman ‘Are you tired?’, which translates to ‘You look like hell.’

2. Never ask a woman ‘Are you pregnant?’ unless you are 100% sure she is, better to keep your mouth shut, otherwise you may find yourself with a fat lip!

3. Never ask a woman ‘Have you gained weight?’ This needs no explanation. Although, you may want to be out of throwing distance because you’ll likely find a lamp, book, or some other heavy object lobbed at your head.

4. ‘Do these pants/skirt/muu muu/table cloth make my butt look big?’ The only way to answer this, and I mean ONLY way, ‘No honey, they make you look hot!’ ‘No honey, they make you look 10lbs slimmer.’ To simply answer with a ‘No’ or a ‘You look fine’ you should also be prepared to duck from flying objects. Or, you could avoid it all together and say, ‘I’m going to get myself a glass of wine/comb my hair/whatever. Do you need anything?”

5. Never ask a woman ‘Are you feeling ok?’ Once again, equates to ‘you look like hell’. And I can almost guarantee you, if she’s not feeling ill, YOU will be very, very soon.

6. Never say to a woman ‘It looks like you’ve had a long day.’ See numbers 1-3 for clarification.

7. Never come home from work, and ask the wife who’s been home with small children all day, ‘What did you do today?’ In addition to having things lobbed at you, including poopy diapers, there’s a good chance you’ll get daddy duty for many hours in return, most likely with a crying and inconsolable child. Rather, say ‘How was your day?’, and pay attention to her when she tells you what happened. I promise, you’ll be glad you did later, as boring and tedious as it may be at the time, and I’m not talking about feeling like being part of your child’s day, if you catch my meaning.

What to say if you want the day/evening to go well:

Have you lost weight?
What are you doing, your skin is glowing?
Is that dinner? It smells delicious (even if it smells like straight up shit)
Let me take care of the laundry/dishes (better yet, just DO IT w/o saying a word. HUGE brownie points)
Is that a new dress? It looks amazing on you.

Any questions? Oh, and yes, at some point, all of these things have been posed to me. Yes, the results were not pretty, and no, the person who said/asked did not make the same mistake twice.

Oh, and one last thought to leave you with. Never. And I mean N.E.V.E.R say ‘It must be your time of the month.’ Or ‘Is it your time of the month?’ I don’t care if she’s levitating over a bed and projectile vomiting pea soup straight at your head, say this or any version of it, and your reproductive future will be in serious jeopardy, you’ll be sleeping on the couch with one eye open, and you can’t say you haven’t been warned. You can think it all you want, but verbalizing this single statement will get you in more trouble than all of the others put together. Combine it with any of the above, and you’ll have some sort of mysterious ‘accident’ never to be seen again.

That is all. Carry on.

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Margherita Pizza on steroids

Yes, it’s me, I’m back. I have garlic and I’m not afraid to use it! In my house, garlic is a food group, along with chocolate and red wine. Sounds like a party, no? 🙂 Last summer I had a bumper crop of basil. I love me some fresh basil, also a food group. Because I didn’t want to waste any, I ran it thru my food processor with a little olive oil and put it in ice cube trays & froze it to use later. Since pesto is just basil that’s been put through a food processor with olive oil, garlic, pine nuts & parmesan, I figured I’d have the hard part already done, right? Great. So, now I’m coming up with new ways to use my bounty. And just in case you’re curious, yes, I will have basil in my garden again this year.

Today I was trying to decide what dinner would be and I saw the premade pizza shells at the grocery. I love the thin & crispy crust pizza and was thrilled to see a pre-made thin crust. Pizza Margherita is wonderful and I rarely see it when I go out. Hmmm, thin crust pizza shell, tomatoes in the fridge and basil ready to go? I’m in! But….here I go again, changing things up. You’ll be so proud, I took pictures!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In case you don’t know what Margherita pizza is, it’s a pizza crust with olive oil, minced garlic, mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and basil. Yum! It’s a very light & flavorful pizza. Mine, well, mine was essentially pesto pizza with tomatoes. In my fridge, I happen to have some gorgeous fresh asparagus that I picked on Friday at Thunderbird Berry Farm (I so wish they had a website). And a jar of pine nuts in the cabinet calling my name too. Yep, I did it. I added them to my Margherita pizza and, well, all I can say is WOW. amazing! So, if you love caprese salad, you’ll love Margherita pizza! Give it a try! You won’t be sorry!

Margherita Pizza on Steroids

1 pre-cooked thin pizza crust
2 roma tomatoes sliced thin
4 oz shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp. olive oil
5 garlic cloves (you can use less if you don’t want to stink!) finely minced
5 tbsp. chopped basil (or 1/2 C fresh basil cut into thin strips)
6 stalks of asparagus
2 tbsp. pine nuts
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. On pizza crust, spread 1-2 tbsp. olive oil all over crust using a pastry brush to be sure and get all of the crust
3. spread chopped basil over olive oil, sprinkle garlic & pine nuts over basil.
4. sprinkle cheese over basil & top with tomato slices
5. arrange asparagus around tomatoes
6. bake 10 minutes or until crust reaches your preferred crispness
7. enjoy with altoids!

****NOTE-if you don’t want your tongue to slap your brains out, feel free to decrease the amount of garlic and/or basil. If you use fresh basil, the taste will be delicious, but not quite as powerful as my version.

enjoy!

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Happiness?

Forgive me for taking a tiny little break from my usual DG kind of posts, I promise I’ll post a new recipe tomorrow! I suppose I’m feeling sort of introspective these days. With lots of drama and trauma in the lives of many around me (some real, some fabricated), it really makes me take a moment and look closer at my own life.

There are so many adages I’ve heard before and as I’m growing up (not older!), I realize the reason they’re around is because they really are true. Life is what you make it. It really is, and I learned this in my mid 20’s when I moved to LA. On a whim, I followed my roommate out there. I had no job, no apartment, no real reason to say no, so I went. It became a life altering experience. I was completely overwhelmed. If you haven’t been to LA, I can’t begin to describe just the vastness of everything there. Everything you can possibly imagine and even more. My roommate’s relationship progressed to the point of them getting engaged, which left me to find a new place to live. I had some really wonderful coworkers (newly weds, no less) who let me rent a room from them. I was miserable. 1500 miles from home, working full time and sharing a little 2br/1bath house with people I barely knew. Finally, someone smacked me and said “Hey! You are in the most exciting city, everything you’d ever want to do is here, and you’re sitting there feeling sorry for yourself? What’s up with that?’ And after that point, everything was different. I went to Dodgers games, museums, the beach, all sorts of things and really started enjoying everything that incredible city had to offer. I learned that so much of it is within my control. Of course, there are some things I can’t control: traffic, weather, cost of living. The one thing I can control (as I continually tell my children) is myself and my attitude and outlook.

Happiness, that’s a choice. The family we’re born into, our eye color, the weather, these are things that we really don’t have a choice in. We all have our wishes, but in reality, we have no say over these things and cannot change them, no matter how badly we’d like to. I have a friend, we’ve known each other since high school. She is beautiful, was always drop dead gorgeous, but was the type who really didn’t know she was as beautiful as she was. Down to earth is how I”d describe her. She has had some not so nice things happen to her. Her ex-husband & father of her children committed suicide. A different ex was abusive and a total jack-hole. She was brutally attacked and injured. And yet, she continues to look on the bright side of life. We all have our crap days. We all have things go wrong, or happen that we wish were different or better. The difference is how you respond to it. Do you let it defeat you or do you dust yourself off and say, ‘ok, that sucked. What’s next?’

Happiness is a choice. Yes, I’ve experienced adversity, difficulty and even tragedy. But I choose to be happy, because my life is not over yet and I refuse to let anything negative define me or who I am.

So, my question for you is, what’s your choice?

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